Some occupations in the UK require that the person be vetted by the Police to make sure that they do not criminal convictions which might mean they are not suitable to do the job. This system is mainly designed to protect vulnerable people like children or elderly people from abuse, but also applies to people who have jobs which involve responsibility for a lot of money or who work in security, Police or the legal profession. In England and Wales, this checking is handled by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and there are sister organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland which perform the same function. Getting Disclosure checks done is a standard part of the process, but who pays the fees associated with the application – the applicant or the employer?


The simplest scenario is for people who are volunteering and require to have a DBS or similar check done as part of their role. The key difference between a volunteer and other types of employees is that they are not paid for what they do. They may receive expenses or a contribution towards their travelling costs, but don’t receive wages. Volunteers may make a regular commitment to a certain number of hours per week or month or might volunteer on a more casual basis. Not all volunteers require to be DBS checked as it depends on the role, but any volunteers who do require a DBS check will not have to pay anything for their check to be done.

Employer Pays

For other types of role, the most common situation is that the employer shoulders the cost of applying for the DBS check to be done on their prospective employee. The cost of having the check done will depend on the type of certificate being produced. The more detailed type of check, the enhanced disclosure check, costs more than the standard disclosure as it reveals more information. The employer cannot decide which type of disclosure which they want to have done, the type of disclosure will be determined by the role. Employers are not allowed to carry our disclosure checks on staff where the job does not require it. Depending on the type of job, the employer might be happy to allow the staff member start work while they are waiting for the checks to be completed.

Worker Pays

Sometimes, a company will ask employees or contractors to pay for their own DBS checks to be done. There is nothing illegal about asking for staff to pay for the checks, and many employers use it as a way of weeding out who is serious about applying for the job. Sometimes employers will also agree with staff that if they work a certain period of time for the company that the costs of the checking will be reimbursed. Employees who are thinking of joining a company which asks them to fund their own DBS checks should ensure that they know how much they will be expected to pay, and preferably get this stated in writing.